Revive - A Quarterly Fly Fishing Journal - Page 18

What keeps you striping a fly in tough conditions - besides the thought of being back at work? How about the thought of a 15 to 20 pound trout? Not only does Pyramid serve as a great escape from the daily grind, but it comes with the chance to catch a large, fish-eating beast.

It hasn’t always been that that way. Prior to 2000, the hatchery at Pyramid raised a strain of Lahontans taken from Summit Lake, located in the northwest corner of Nevada. Unfortunately, the Summit Lake strain doesn't grow large like the earlier native fish. All that changed around 2002 by spawning the brood stock from Pilot Peak Lahontans. As historic residents of ancient Lake Lahontan (now Pyramid Lake), the Pilot Peak strain evolved into meat-eating predators. High on their menu were Tui chubs, a native forage fish. Today Tui chubs are the most abundant fish in Pyramid Lake in both number and biomass.

Taking advantage of the huge fish biomass, the Lahontan’s evolved over time to growing large. Obtaining a weight north of 20 pounds is in the DNA of the Pilot Peak strain of Lahontan's swimming in Pyramid Lake. In contrast, having evolved without a main diet of forage fish, the Summit Lake strain cutthroat rarely exceed 10 pounds. It’s just not in their genes.